Republican Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield (KY-01) visited WKMS this week to discuss many of his ongoing projects. You can hear the full interview above, or see a brief summary of topics below.
Tail Water Fishing on Cumberland River:
Whitfield has continued his work advocating for area fisherman who disagree with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers decision to restrict fishing access near dams on the Cumberland River operated by the USACE. Whitfield said that the Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates the dam on Kentucky Lake, doesn’t restrict tail water fishing. The USACE cites danger as the reason for restricting access, and that other Corp districts have the same rule. Whitfield asserted there has only been one reported death associated with tail water fishing on Lake Barkley, and he said that person wasn’t wearing a life jacket. Whitfield has filed legislation, which he says is unpopular because it is too broad, called the Freedom to Fish Act. His counterparts from Kentucky and Tennessee in the U.S. Senate have also filed and passed legislation that would restrict funding for the USACE to institute the new rule.
Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant:
Current operations at the United States Enrichment Corporation’s 1200 employee plant are set to end in May. USEC is working to negotiate a contract to continue operations, but five other entities have expressed interest in the plant, according to the trade magazine “Energy Daily.” Whitfield said he General Electric was interested in operating the plant and re-enriching spent uranium stored at the 3,800 acre site. Whitfield wasn’t sure when all proposals to operate the plant would be assessed, and how many jobs could be associated if a different company operates the plant. Whitfield also wasn’t sure whether or not the reindustrialization project ongoing at PGPD would include 1,800 acres of a Wild Life Management Area, currently leased by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Murray State University:
Whitfield did comment on the decision made by MSU’s Board of Regents not to renew President Randy Dunn’s contract. Whitfield said Dunn did a great job advocating for MSU when meeting with politicians of all parties. Whitfield mentioned a previous MSU president who was partisan and confrontational toward U.S. Department of Education Secretary Roderick Paige who visited MSU in 2001. The president serving MSU at that time was Kern Alexander.
Congressman Whitfield defended his philosophical belief that marriage should be between a man and woman. Whitfield was dismayed that the U.S. Justice Department wouldn’t defend DOMA during the U.S. Supreme Court Hearings this week. Whitfield did say he supports civil unions, but not gay marriage. He cited his religious beliefs for his opposition to gay marriage.